A Study in Contrast: Smart Ideas vs Un-Smart Ideas


When choosing a problem and solution for the YCISL Project Studio, teams are guided to draw from their own “universe” and work on something that comes from their own experience or an issue they are very familiar with. With our emphasis on creativity and innovation, we also encourage students to work on the “crazy” end of the spectrum. But by rollout, we expect the product and pitch to have a compelling form and story.

SMART IDEA. I am following news stories on the volcanic fissure and lava flow activity on southeastern part of Hawaii, and found the story about emergency kits for evacuees as a great example for the YCISL students. While emergency kits are generally generic (plenty of choices on Amazon), creating one for a specific situation in real time involves EQ, fast-thinking, and problem-solving. This activity also has elements of philanthropy (I don’t think they’re planning on selling these kits) and sustainability (the victims need resources which can sustain them). This would make a great model on which a YCISL team can develop something – such as a formula and process to create custom-kits as disasters strike.

UN-SMART IDEA. I was in the Financial District of San Francisco last weekend and found that the lack of EQ in how electric scooter sharing has been executed is comedic. Further, this clouded-thinking innovation has created more problems than it has solved – and there is a charge for it. Given this product’s propensity for safety risk and “pollution” (physically littering the streets), this is so un-sustainable. They’ve avoided design thinking. Had they tried to improve on issues with bike sharing in China? It’s quite obvious that the companies developing these scooter businesses are chasing free publicity in the marketing battle to see who will survive in this industry. To this end, could it be that they employ people to ride these scooters to garner attention?

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